The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu has banned policemen working for the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) from routine patrols.
Also affected by the ban are members of Tactical Squads of the Force including the Special Tactical Squad (STS), Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Anti-Cultism Squad, and other Tactical Squads operating at the Federal, Zonal and Command levels.
They have all been banned from carrying out routine patrols and other conventional low-risk duties – stop and search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks, etc – with immediate effect.
In addition, no personnel of the Force is authorised to embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti.
They must always appear in their police uniforms or approved tactical gear.
The IGP’s directives come against the backdrop of findings by the leadership of the Force that a few personnel of the Tactical Squads hide under these guise to perpetrate all forms of illegality, contrary to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement establishing the squads.
The new order was rolled out Sunday as the public disaffection against the SARS reached a crescendo, with the hashtag #EndSARS trending on Twitter and other social media platforms.
Prominent Nigerians have also condemned the SARS for their brutality.
In rolling out the new command today, the IGP warned the Tactical Squads against the invasion of the privacy of citizens particularly through indiscriminate and unauthorized search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices.
They are to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes when the need arises.
The IGP noted that the FSARS and other Police Tactical Squads remain a critical component of the Force in confronting prevailing and emerging violent crimes in the country.
He however condemned every act of unprofessionalism, abuse of human rights and high-handedness by some personnel of the Squads.
He has therefore ordered the X-Squad and the Monitoring Unit to embark on immediate and massive nationwide monitoring of activities of Tactical Squads and other police officers on the road.
They are to ensure prompt arrest, investigation and prosecution of all erring police officers who violate these directives and other extant regulations of the Force.
The IGP has equally warned that henceforth, the Commissioner of Police in charge of FSARS, Commissioners of Police in charge of State Commands and the FCT as well as their supervisory Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police, will be held liable for any misconduct within their Area of Responsibility (AOR).
He therefore charged them to ensure effective supervision and mentoring of the personnel of the Tactical Squads under their jurisdiction.